Damir Očko has been selected by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia to participate at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia with a project entitled “Studies on Shivering : The Third Degree”, curated by Marc Bembekoff.
The space where Damir Očko’s artistic practice enfolds is at the junction between poetical and political. The questions of the human body and the exploration of the physical realities of the body, as a social or political subject, have been the core of his most recent work.
The project conceived for the Pavilion of Croatia expands the poetics of Damir Očko’s last two films, TK (2014) and The Third Degree (2015). Both films question the social constraints imposed to the body as a physical and social entity. Evoking moments of passage and transition zones, such approach reveals the underlying violence of today’s globalized world. In TK, an 8-part poem visually unfolds through a montage of intertwining shots of shivering bodies and scenes of an old man suffering from Parkinson’s disease. This man tirelessly attempts to write a sentence which begins; “In Tranquility…” In The Third Degree, almost abstract close-up shots of burnt skin are filmed and edited with images reflecting the crew while filming. The set, made from an installation of broken mirrors, shows what is usually hidden from sight and thus integrates the viewer into the artistic development.
If these two films are the foundations of the project, the display held in Palazzo Pisani S. Marina develops their issues and therefore echoes a form of violence brought by the instability between the apparent state of tranquility and a lurking constant pressure. Combining both intellectual and emotional experiences for the audience, a tipping point is created, which invites the viewers to make them conscious of their role within the artistic process. In showing internal structures of the making of art in order to analyze this relation between the subject, the audience and the artist, Damir Očko is interested in creating a rhetoric, a mechanism that reinforces our position as both witnesses and actors of today’s complex world.